• AP Source: Panthers part ways with special teams coordinator

    By: STEVE REED, AP Sports Writer

    Updated:
    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - There has been another coaching shake-up with the Carolina Panthers.

    The Panthers have parted ways with special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey, said a person familiar with the situation. The team has promoted Chase Blackburn to take McGaughey's place after his contract was not renewed.

    The person spoke to The Associated Press on Friday on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the news.

    The Charlotte Observer was first to report the news.

    McGaughey is the second coordinator to leave since the end of the season.

    Carolina abruptly fired offensive coordinator Mike Shula two days after the season and replaced him with Norv Turner despite a season in which they finished 11-5 and made the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons.

    Quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey was also fired.

    Blackburn has served as the team's assistant special teams coordinator under McGaughey for the past two seasons. The 34-year-old Blackburn played nine seasons in the NFL, finishing his career with the Panthers in 2014.

    McGaughey could draw interest from the New York Giants, where former Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman is now in charge.

    The Cleveland Browns are also looking for a special teams coordinator.

    The Panthers are coming off a successful season on special teams. They returned a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown this season, kicker Graham Gano is headed to the Pro Bowl as an alternate after missing just one field goal during the regular season and punter Michael Palardy ranked fifth in the league with a net average of 42.4 yards.

    Carolina's kickoff coverage unit only had to cover 12 kickoffs all season because Gano led the league in touchbacks.

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